Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Frank Yamasaki Interview I
Narrator: Frank Yamasaki
Interviewers: Lori Hoshino (primary), Stephen Fugita
Location: Lake Forest Park, Washington
Date: August 18, 1997
Densho ID: denshovh-yfrank-01-0022

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FY: And because I had a class from seven to ten and I went to KBU, Kenman Business University. So aside from going to school and working, and staying awake, I did finally break down and got sick and there's lot of thing that leads up to it. But I didn't know the, I didn't know any doctors in Spokane. The only thing I looked for is I opened the directory and looked for a Japanese name. But there wasn't any Japanese doctors that I could find. So finally, I just point blank hit a spot and the name happened to be Frank Miller, Dr. Frank Miller. And I thought, well, Frank is all right. So I called up and I went and he says, "Come on down right now." And it was only about three or four blocks away, so I walked there. And you know how they tap and start checking. And finally he said, "Take your shirt off," and he's gonna take X-ray, and I just wanted a sleeping pill because this Japanese guy who had this pharmacy, drugstore, he wouldn't give me a sleeping pill. People don't know, but in those days, it was like asking for morphine or marijuana. He said, "You got to have a prescription." So anyway, I just went to the doctor to get a prescription and he takes, starts taking x-rays. And I thought, "Oh, no. This is going to cost me a bundle." So that was it. And when I'm ready to leave, he said, "Come back tomorrow." And I said, "Well, how about the sleeping pill? Can I, just so I can sleep good one night." He said, "You don't need any." Very abrupt... well anyway, so he said, "If you want it..." and he writes me a... so I get this prescription and I go down. Anyway, I decide to go to a movie and I slipped in a movie house and went to work, and next day I went back to see the doctor. And he had my x-ray on the chart and he says I got TB, tuberculosis. In those days, tuberculosis was somebody saying you've got terminal cancer. I think I blanked out almost. I can recall hearing a sound like a buzzing sound, and then I don't even remember how I left the office. I don't remember how I went down the elevator. Just when I went outside I heard this woman's voice, and it was the nurse there talking to me and she is explaining she is an ex-patient. And she had it much more serious. She had a rib removed and all this and that. And it brought me back to consciousness. So I ended up going to the sanitarium. And then, that's a whole new chapter of my life.

LH: At that time it was highly contagious. Wasn't it thought of as being...

FY: No, I don't think so. I don't think it was highly contagious. It was just... I went sugar beet, and then I could've -- I, physically, I was just run down. From the understanding I have, since I had been in the sanitarium, all of us have this tubercular germ in us. And when we let our body go way down so that our resistance is not there, then we contract the disease.

LH: What is the, what was the treatment at the time?

FY: Well, it's interesting. My case wasn't that serious. I didn't need any operation. So they directed me to the ambulatory ward. And the ambulatory is a large ward where you have one side all open and they have a screen there to keep the insects out. But we were kept under shade all the time. And then it was interesting, years ago, they used to promote the fact that you get out in the sun, and get all that sun, and even in the wintertime you lay out in the snow and get the sun. Well, the sun ray was killing the patient. So sun is not good for a tubercular patient.

<End Segment 22> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.